Clarks Originals is celebrating its ties to New York with the recent the release of a short film titled "Clarks and New York - Soles of the City," which highlights the close relationship between Clarks' iconic Wallabee shoe and New York's cultural life over the past fifty years.
Ronnie Fieg featured in "Clarks and New York - Soles of the City"
The short film, directed by Set Free Richardson, features music, fashion and art celebrities such as hip-hop pioneer April Walker, New York sneaker designer Ronnie Fieg, graffiti artist Futura and rappers Dave East, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon. They all describe how they came to know the Wallabee and how the classic Clarks style became representative of hip-hop.
The film traces the brand's creation and rise among Jamaican immigrants who came to the U.S. in the late '70s and early '80s, illustrating the close connection between the sneaker counterpart and the formation of new subcultures defined by their strength and identity.
Danie Sierra featured in "Clarks and New York - Soles of the City"
First introduced in 1967, the Wallabee leaves a lasting legacy to this day and has always been strongly connected to many subcultures and countercultures over time.
As hip-hop established itself as more than just an underground phenomenon, the Wallabee became a key look for artists like Run DMC, Slick Rick and KRS1 who wanted to stay true to the roots of their Caribbean community.
Bahr featured in "Clarks and New York - Soles of the City"
In the '90s, the style saw an explosion in New York and in the hip-hop scene, thanks largely to Staten Island's Wu Tang Clan.
"Clarks was my shoe when it was time to move to a higher level than sneakers. I could always stand out with them. I grew up wearing Wallabees, so when I was asked to make this film about New York and Clarks, I told myself we had to get it right - from the beginning of hip-hop and how it evolved to where we are now," says director Set Free Richardson.
"When music cultures capture a product for themselves, they build a legacy for the product, so to speak. And that's what hip hop did for the Wallabee. I chose a cast that reflected that because I wanted people who were really fans of the brand while also knowing the history of New York.”
"For us, culture and community have always been at the heart of the Clarks brand," said Tara McRae, global chief marketing and digital officer for Clarks. "We are proud to celebrate the Wallabee's diverse history. It is one with the city of New York, as well as music, fashion and art."
Smoke DZA featured in "Clarks and New York - Soles of the City"